African American man receives $97,500 from AZ complex after being evicted for dating white women

A conciliation conference in April 2001 yielded a $97,500 settlement in a racial discrimination case in Mesa, Arizona. The settlement resolves claims by Morsellor Ector that he, an African American man, was evicted from his apartment because he dated white women. 

In June 1997, Ector went to pay his rent at Epernay Apartments. The rental manager, Tamala Daniels, asked Ector if he had been dating white women. Ector replied that he had been dating a white woman, and that it was common knowledge that he dated white women.Manager sends note to tenant expressing her disapproval of interracial datingLater on the day in which Daniels asked him about dating white women, Ector received a note on his door signed by Daniels, who is also African American. It read, "You black men are going to learn about f—ing white women." (Daniels later denied writing the note. The Arizona Department of Public Safety conducted a handwriting analysis of the note and concluded that it was "highly probable" that Daniels wrote the note.)

Ector filed a complaint with the apartment owners about Daniels’ conduct. He received no response. Later in June 1997, Ector received a notice to renew his lease for a term of one year. Ector did not sign a new lease, opting to remain a month-to-month tenant. Soon after, Ector received a 30-day notice to vacate his apartment. Ector believed this termination of his tenancy was due to the fact that Daniels did not approve of his interracial relationships.

Daniels told investigators that Ector’s tenancy was terminated, because he was consistently late with his rent and because he did not sign a one-year lease.

Daniels later admitted that she did accept late payments from Ector and that apartment managers typically allow slow-paying tenants to remain in their apartments when vacancy rates are high at a complex. There were approximately 32 apartments available for rent at Epernay Apartments at the time when Daniels terminated Ector’s tenancy.

Ector admitted that he had been late on his rent payments in the past, but that Daniels had always accepted late payments and partial payments. It wasn’t until the day they had the conversation about Ector’s dating of white women that Ector suddenly became a bad tenant.Conciliator said there was "reasonable cause" to believe discrimination occurredPrior to the conciliation conference, the Respondents, which included Daniels and the owners of Epernay Apartments, offered a $20,000 settlement. During the conference, the conciliator noted that she believed there was reasonable cause to believe that racial discrimination and retaliation had occurred as alleged in Ector’s complaint. As noted, the complaint then settled for $97,500.

Albert M. Flores, an Arizona attorney in private practice, represented Ector in the complaint. Steven G. Biddle of Littler Mendelson represented the respondents. Sandra R. Kane was the conciliator at the conference.

Ector v. Griffis & Blessing, Inc. and Daniels
FHA 97-4062; HUD 09-97-4349-8
HUD complaint filed: September 1997
Conciliation: April 2001
Albert M. Flores, Attorney for Complainant